Bane. The name alone conjures up images of comic book villains. But sometimes, the villain isn’t quite what you’d expect.
Nythan is a 19-year-old young man making sure his cadet uniform is without blemish when he stumbles on an intruder in his apartment. During the struggle, to Nythan’s horror, he inhales a thin, silver stream of something, and after doing this, the intruder drops dead. It turns out Nythan has a symbiote, and he is about to become the next in the line of soulstealers.
Bane has been around for thousands of years, moving from host to host. But this time, things are different. As they travel around the world, gathering his followers to see if the cycle remains the same, the question is: are thousands and thousands of lives taken voluntarily an acceptable compromise for the greater good?
While I don’t like to compare books, or movies to books, I couldn’t help but to equate the idea of Bane to the movie Venom, and could hear that tone of voice throughout the read. However, this is a rather novel take on the “symbiote organism moving between hosts through the ages” idea. The author has very cleverly (without making it a book on religion) been able to use the religious ideals of the places Nythan goes to, to explain Bane’s reason for being, and thus, they are able to easily accept that Bane needs souls to survive. From an ashram in India to a monastery in Bhutan, his followers were certain that he would be the saviour of the world. I did like the way concepts like samadhi were introduced and that Nythan would learn about something bigger than himself in the world.
The journey Nythan undertakes to reconnect with Bane’s followers and enemies was littered with subtle brilliance at the way the author has combined past and present. The principal players were all described very well and Palaou, the eager beaver manservant/Bane’s #1 fan, was genius.
The length of the book was fine for its genre, but within the length, I felt some parts were drawn out. The reader had to be moved around the world and meet the Ordo Solis, the Unas, and the Raptors, amongst others, but sometimes all the info between the covens was a bit slow. There were also some grammar and punctuation errors, but nothing very offputting.
This is definitely highly recommended for fans of urban fantasy who enjoy a touch of humour, some action, and even a philosophical leaning. I was, however, devastated at the end (if you have read Sai King and got to the end of the Dark Tower you will understand). Bring on the sequel!